End of Nations Original Soundtrack
End of Nations Original Soundtrack
Sumthing Else Music Works
November 13, 2012
Download at iTunes
The extremely troubled development of End of Nations came to end in 2012 as the MOBA was put on indefinite hold. At the time of the game’s effective cancellation, Frank Klepacki had already completed writing and recording a 160-minute soundtrack for the title. It appeared at first that his score would suffer the same fate as the game, with a planned physical album release from Sumthing Else Music Works shelved. However, the soundtrack eventually made it through digital distribution — it is available through iTunes in certain regions (including my own, Australia) and can also be streamed through Spotify. It’s a godsend that the soundtrack was made available in at least some form, as it features some of Klepacki’s most impressive work to date.
Frank Klepacki recorded a large majority of the soundtrack, including the game’s central themes, was recorded with full orchestra. The prospect of this will be a turn-off for many listeners: after all, so-called ‘rock musicians’ don’t often make talented symphonists, and on the other side of fence those looking for the next “Hell March” won’t get it with “End of Nations Main Theme”. But believe me, between his surprisingly mature orchestral writing, the top-notch orchestration and performances, and the interesting breaks from soundtrack conventions, Klepacki makes it work in End of Nations. The main theme is an impressive first example of this, a robust military overture at its core brought to life with grandiose choral parts, standout trumpet leads, and even some tasteful guitar parts. In this track and others throughout the score, Klepacki worked intimately with Dynamedion’s orchestrators and engineers to record the score in extended sessions at Frankfurt and Prague, before sprucing them up in his studio. The result is extremely high production values that likely transcended the game itself.
End of Nations features plenty more militaristic compositions during its three-hour run. From heroic anthems in “Liberation Front Theme”, to furious war marches in “Declaration of War”, to persuasive anthems in “War Room”, to climactic Such compositions have a strong classical learning, channelling the likes of Williams and Holst, with little influence from the Zimmer cinematics that populate too many of today’s game and film scores. And with a composer with a background like Klepacki behind them, you can be assured that they’re filled with meaty melodies and complex rhythms. While End of Nations certainly has its fair share of all-out anthems, the most rewarding listens on the score are those that explore softer sounds. “Liberation Conquest” brings emotional depth to an often muscular score with its beautiful orchestrations. Electric guitar and soprano vocals mark a return here, but this time provide additional spiritual dimensions to the music than simple grit and brawl. Scene-setting tracks such as “Alliance”, “Ramping Up Defences”, and “Caught” also enhance the dynamic range and dramatic weight of the score.
But fear not, Command & Conquer fans, there’s still plenty of material in this vast soundtrack that will outright appeal to you. Many of the biggest tracks on the scores, among them “March of the Order”, “Deflection”, “Breaking the Defenses”, “Gun It”, and “Imposing Will”, are heavy orchestra, chorus, and band combos. Tracks such as these essentially provide epic twists on Klepacki’s full-throttle trademark sound. Think “Hell March 3” and you’ll get the idea of what to expect from tracks like these. These tracks undeniably have plenty of cheese factor, but they’re also elaborate compositions and robust productions all-round. “Precision” and “Creeper” take the reverse approach, placing a clear focus on contemporary guitar elements with orchestral elements taking a backseat. The mixing such tracks could be better — for example the winds at the 1:30 mark of “Precision” are too quiet relative to the guitars — but the overall atmosphere they create is still incredible. “Drop That Punk” and “Blasting Through” are rare examples of tracks that exclude orchestral elements. While the former is a little repetitious, the latter is classic Klepacki.
Indeed, Klepacki’s soundtrack for End of Nations impresses not just for its length but also for its density and variety. Even the relatively throwaway tracks here, for example “Night Vision”, show incredible attention to detail particularly at the timbral and . And if orchestral, rock, and choral elements weren’t enough, some tracks incorporate electronic elements too such as “Under the Radar” and “Sludge”. To reflect the opposing factions in the game, Klepacki also experimented with world music styles. Whether the stunning woodwind lead in “On Russian Grounds”, the hybrid of Western and Eastern tonalities on “Middle East Arrival”, or the slow-building timbres of “BattleGround in the Desert”, there’s tonnes to enjoy here. Some of these tracks rely heavily on clichés, for example the ululating vocals of “ChinaTek” or the oud improvisations in “Cultural Struggle” , but they’re still unique listens since they hybridise these elements with surprising feature. If all that weren’t enough, the soundtrack closes with a series of majestic full orchestral variations of key gameplay themes from the score.
End of Nations is an incredibly ambitious and accomplished soundtrack from Frank Klepacki. Indeed, a mere handful of paragraphs isn’t enough to capture to any reasonably extent the range, density, and intricacy of this work, While it’ll probably never be possible to experience this soundtrack in context, it is still highly accessible and enjoyable as a listen in its own right. I highly recommend checking out this soundtrack through whatever means is available in your territory.
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Posted on April 26, 2016 by Chris Greening. Last modified on April 25, 2016.